Lately, as I adjust to working at a new job, with new hours, my time in the kitchen cooking has decreased exponentially. I now eat most of my meals at work or on the go, which can make it pretty challenging since I am used to cooking almost every meal. When thinking about it, I realized that a lot of my readers probably deal with the same issues of what to take, making time to pack food, and most importantly, planning ahead. So came this blog post 🙂
Once starting the job, it definitely took me a while to get into a routine and to force myself to pack substantial meals and snacks to carry with me to work. Now, I’m starting to plan a little more and to make sure I have the right foods in the house for packing. Packing not only saves you a ton of money, but it allows you to make healthier choices. Packing a healthy, filling lunch to have on hand will make you less likely to hit up the street carts for food, or head to a local restaurant where you could end up spending a ton of money every day, and end up eating a ton of unnecessary calories. I also try to carry my lunches in a reusable lunch bag, along with packing my food in reusable containers. This is a great way to go green and save a ton of money on those little Ziplock bags.
I will be honest, I’m not that great at planning ahead, but I am getting better about it. In my first month at the new job, I have definitely turned to more convenience foods because they are easy to grab and go and don’t require a lot of prep work. I suspect this will begin to change a little each week and soon I will be a lunch-packing pro 🙂
For now, this is what most of my meals look like…
Breakfast usually varies between the following..
Lunches depend on if I have planned ahead and how much time I have in the morning to throw something together. This category needs some work..
Snacks are something I am getting better at keeping on hand. I usually need something in the afternoon to keep me energized….and from eating my arm off before dinner. Most of the time, I try to keep nuts on hand because they are easy to carry in my purse and don’t require any utensils or messy dishes. Raw almonds, cashews, peanuts, and wasabi peas are my go-to mix for a serving of protein and healthy fats to keep me feeling satisfied until dinner time. However, I do switch it up a bit every now and then with a few of these healthy morsels..
Other items not pictured include apples and carrots with hummus.
Like I said, planning ahead is key to the art of brown bagging. Here are a few suggestions:
*Cook extra portions at dinner. Leftovers are great to take for lunch the following day.
*Pre-cook items on Sunday. Make up a few servings of cooked vegetables, salads, brown rice (or other grain), soups, beans, and lean protein items, such as chicken, turkey, tofu, or fish. This will make packing lunches a breeze and will help with keeping a variety throughout the week. You don’t want to end up eating canned soup or turkey sandwiches every day.
*Plan for snacks. We all do it, it’s inevitable, so why not plan for it? Having an afternoon snack is normal, but try to keep it healthy so you are satisfied, but not getting a sugar spike shortly after having it. Fruits, veggies, whole grain crackers, protein and energy bars, and nuts, all make great, energizing snacks.
Do you pack your lunch? What does it normally look like? Feel free to share your own tips!